Taken from IMDB: Mala is a Polynesian spy in the employ of U.S. Intelligence investigates sabotage on Clipper Island. A gang of spies causes the eruption of a volcano, for which our hero is blamed. He convinces the local Princess Melani of his innocence and helps her ward off a takeover by rival high priest Porotu.
SURROUNDED BY DEVIL-SHARKS...HEMMED IN BY A BAND OF KILLERS ON AN ISLAND OF FEAR...WHO DARES DEFY THE GODS OF THE JUNGLE TO WIPE OUT THE NEW RADIO MENACE! (original ad - all caps)
14 WEEKS OF THROBBING THRILLS! WITH THE SERIAL THAT NEVER LETS YOU DOWN! (original ad - all caps)
Reviewer:Dr Feel Rotten -
January 28, 2011 Subject:
I love these serials
The hero always escapes death by a fraction of a second in every episode and of course is strong as Tarzan, Superman and an NFL defensive line all rolled into one and can fight better than all combined and let us never forget...he WILL get the girl in the end.. That should have spelled Hollywood instead of the sign.. Guy Get's Girlwood!
I wish I was 9 yrs old in 1936 like my dad was.. He remembers these..
Who cares if Mala was a great actor or not? I love these old serials. He was as good as most of the actors in todays crap serials on TV and probably less arrogant.
April 1, 2010 Subject:
Turn on the volcano machine!
The bad guys have a horde of ruthless henchmen, hundreds of fierce native allies, a submarine, a mountaintop fortress-laboratory, a huge cannon and a volcano erupting machine. The good guys have an ornery Scotsman, a loopy Englishman, a dog, a horse and a cliff-diving Polynesian-American secret agent. In other words it's no contest - the bad guys are toast! Of course this is a Saturday matinee serial, and coming from Republic the action is nonstop. Mostly set on a fictional south seas Island, the plot is amusing nonsense about international spies tapping the trans-Pacific telegraph cable. The production values are good by serial standards, with dirigibles, seaplanes, sailing ships and a volcano that erupts on command. Also by serial standards much of the cast is a bit above average. Ray Mala (Native-American Inuit from Alaska who often played Hawaiian characters) isn't a great actor, but he's dashing enough for the heroic government agent role. Buck the dog and Rex the horse are pretty good too. Above average fun from an above average matinee potboiler. Three stars, plus an extra star for having a non-white hero in 1936.
January 20, 2010 Subject:
MALA:ACTOR OR NON ACTOR?
It is true that Mala was no great actor(due to
his stilted speech and performance)but at least he
managed to make up for his shortcomings during action sequences in this serial.
One can see that Mala(A Jewish Eskimo)when playing natives in films like Green Hell or
Son of Fury,recieved fewer lines and was kept to the background alot(except for another film called "call of the yukon").
It is also true that the animal stars did get
more screen time that Mamo clark(who gave a decent
performance as polynesian princess Melani).
Clark had played similar characters such as
Clark gable's Tahitian wife in"Mutiny on the Bounty"(mentioned in the trailer)
However,in comparison with other serials produced
by republic that year,Crusoe had the advantage of
some costly set pieces and filming locations
(such as the island itself)which was a big deal
for it's time.
January 16, 2010 Subject:
An Enjoyable Serial
A review I read at IMDb panned the acting of the lead actor, Mala. Mala's enunciation and delivery are poor and that does detract, but his sidekicks certainly don't make him look bad in comparison. The level of talent in serials is generally poor, anyway.
There isn't much inadvertent humor in this serial, at least until the last episode. Good choice of shooting locations, more variety and quality of action in the usual back and forth between the good and bad guys make this serial better than others, like Don Winslow of the Navy.
One of the radio men on board the dirigible San Francisco is a ringer for former president George W. Bush.
It's kind of charming, and it gave me a laugh when I saw that Buck the Dog and Rex the Wonder Horse were listed in the credits above Mamo Clark, the costar of the serial.
At the sea bottom in a diving suit and cut off from air, we see Mala dying at the end of episode 3, but at the start of episode 4 he's able to walk ashore. At the end of episode 7, we see Mala and Melani fall to there deaths, with one of them taking a nasty bounce off the rocks on the way down. In episode 8, they swing on a vine to safety instead. At the end of episode 10, a bad guy crashes a biplane into the sea while struggling with Mala. At the beginning of episode 11, we see Mala take control of the plane and land it. Lame, but typical of serials. Serial filmmakers didn't think much of their audiences.
I downloaded the MPEG4 files. Audio and video are Ok. There's a trailer for the serial prepended to episode 1. The source print was decent. The digital transfer was well done.